Fall Color Debuts at ArboretumFirst Autumnal Colors At Huge Tree Museum–A Perfect Staycation Location
LISLE, IL (October 3, 2008) – Mother Nature’s fall color mosaic is now starting to come together.
Sumacs and Virginia creeper are dotting the landscape with a hint of vivid reds, while white ash trees are throwing in a dash of purple color. They’re out front as nature’s annual ritual begins anew at The Morton Arboretum: the gold standard of fall color in the Midwest.
“It’s the crisp, cool air, sunny days, and shorter day lengths that triggered the color change,” says the Arboretum’s Ed Hedborn, botanist and “Color Scout.”
A fall color “staycation” at the Arboretum is particularly impressive because of the wide variety of species from 40 countries. It’s like the world’s fall color, all in one place, with trees not likely found elsewhere in the Chicago area. With a mix of native and exotic trees and other plants, something is always “turning” during the fall color season, which frequently lasts well into November.
With 1,700 acres featuring tree collections and formal gardens, what place could be better than the Arboretum to have your “fall color moment?”
New this fall: two miles of pristine hiking trails. One trail loop leads visitors through the China, Central and Western Asia, and Eastern U.S. Wetlands collections, and by the Appalachia collection. Hikers enjoy an uplifting, special experience as the trail passes around a ravine.
“It’s like Alice in Wonderland. You say ‘wow, it’s so cool’,” says Arboretum Assistant Director of Collections Kunso Kim, who adds that even if visitors have been through these collections before, the new trails offer viewers brand new perspectives.
Families should plan several trips to the Arboretum, to see the ever-changing autumn beauty, either by hiking all 16 miles of trails, bicycling the nine miles of roads, or taking a 50-minute, narrated tram tour.
In early fall, expect the showiest trees to be red sumacs and purple-red flowering dogwoods, the lovely yellows of Asian birch, black walnut, Carpathian walnut, and buckeyes with their rust-like reddish-gold leaves.
Around mid-October, the “kings” of fall color–the maples–delight us with their striking golds, reds, and oranges. Also stealing the spotlight are ginkgos, with megawatt yellow leaves so bright, you might think the trees are plugged into an electrical outlet. Sweet gums usually bring a dark red or purple, while the yellows of corktrees, black maples and larches round out the palette.
Starting late October into November, mighty oaks bring rich purples and reds to center stage while Callery pear and Chinese Mountain-ash fill a colorful supporting role.
Arboretum visitors can enhance their experience by observing the descriptive labeling that identify trees, and may find out more about each species, if they wish, in the Arboretum’s Sterling Morton Library.
For a bonus, the Schulenberg Prairie will be a treat with fall color flowers. “The asters are blooming now, and will be into October, and gentians will be blooming later in October,” Hedborn says.
Hedborn provides a weekly “Bloom ‘n Color” report on what trees and plants were displaying fall color and spring color to the general public. The report is online, www.mortonarb.org/colorupdate and at 630-719-7955.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit www.mortonarb.org and click Press Room or call to learn more.